Mental health problems affect one in five young people, but an estimated two-thirds of all young people with mental health problems are not getting the help they need. The rate of unmet needs is even higher for minorities, especially Hispanic children, where 88 percent do not receive much-needed mental health care.
Thanks to generous grants from the Arsht-Cannon Fund, the Delaware Guidance Services team in Sussex County is engaging some of the area’s underserved Hispanic families in a special kind of therapy.
The therapy is Parent-Child Interaction Therapy, an empirically supported treatment for young children that places emphasis on improving the quality of the parent-child relationship and changing parent-child interaction patterns.
One mother served in the program said when she finally found DGS she felt, for the first time, like she could breathe and was being helped. Previously distressed by her son’s behavior, she faced not only language barriers, but transportation barriers and waiting lists as well, before she found DGS. As a client at DGS she was relieved to find immediate and consistent help from a therapist who spoke her language. In addition, she was amazed at the results when using PCIT techniques with her son.
It was a 2012 Arsht-Cannon Fund grant that allowed DGS to expand the PCIT program in Seaford by hiring Ariadna Aguero as a bilingual behavioral specialist. Cori Meek, LPCMH, clinical coordinator; Cristina Machin, LPCMH, bilingual therapist and outpatient therapist; Steve Kastner, LPCMH, therapist; and Lindsay Fitzgerald, BA, behavior specialist are also key members of the DGS PCIT team in Seaford.
Dr. Christine Cannon’s enduring commitment to the Hispanic population in Delaware brought a second year of funding to support the PCIT program in 2013. DGS expressed thanks for the partnership and generosity of Cannon and the Arsht-Cannon Fund.
DGS is the largest single not-for-profit provider of comprehensive non-residential psychiatric services for children and their families in Delaware. For more information about programs and how to support the mission, visit www.delawareguidance.org.